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Alejandro Ramos Carbajales

Candidate for Members at Large

Alejandro Ramos Carbajales

Candidacy Motivation and Relevance

 I consider my candidacy to the position of WHF Member at large and eventual selection for the 2023-2024 period, besides an honor, a key step in my commitment to the prevention and control of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and other chronic conditions.

My contribution from an economic perspective can be useful, given the issues of limited resources all countries face, inequity in the prevention of diseases and access to health care, and the need to evaluate decisions about health risks and treatment from an economics and cost-effectiveness viewpoint.

I have been an economist working in the health sector for 40 years. I have been involved in health policy development, health insurance reform and cost containment policies as an advisor to two Ministers when working at the Ministry of Health in Uruguay. Later I did consult work in those policies for the Inter American Development Bank in several countries in Latin America.

During my activities, I have learned to deal with the multiple challenges involving an economic perspective of the health sector and being initiative-taking in relation to teamwork.

In the last 20 years I focused my work in research and advocacy on tobacco control, tobacco taxation and illicit trade in the Latin American region. However, I have also been involved in research projects with a broader perspective on CVDs and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). In 2017, I led a survey and analysis of NCD risks and policies in 12 Latin American and Caribbean countries. The study involved surveying, discussing, and making recommendations from the civil society perspective on the changes in institutional arrangements, analysis of care gaps, availability and price of drugs, access to health care and equity problems, etc. This line of work is a good contribution to learning where the gaps and weaknesses are in policies aimed at achieving sustainable development goals in our region.

I also have experience in NGOs activities and governance. I have been a member of the Board of Directors of the Framework Convention Alliance (2015-2019) representing AMRO (Americas region) and of the InterAmerican Heart Foundation in Argentina (2017-2019). In both positions I gathered experience in dealing with the challenges of civil society organizations and their need to improve public health policy strategies.

CVDs and NCDs constitute the main long-term health problem in most societies, both from the perspective of lives lost and from disabilities and society’s expense to meet the costs. NCDs care comprise the largest portion of health expenditures in most countries.

Governments have committed to prioritize the fight against NCDs and their associated risk factors (UN High-Level Meetings on NCDs of 2011, 2014 and 2018). This is an enormous challenge as many countries need to increase expenditures in health risk prevention. Civil society organizations must work closer with governments, mobilize advocates and the academia, and particularly medical and patients’ associations. The WHF has a key role to play here.